July 15, 2020

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Duluth Public Schools Community:

I am deeply honored and humbled to serve as your superintendent and to be entrusted with the education of our students as well as the goals of our citizenry and the Duluth School Board. Having grown up on the shores of Lake Superior, I feel like I’ve returned home.

I am excited to begin our journey together as the leader of our school community. Throughout the interview process and weeks of onboarding, several things became clear: Duluth is committed to our schools, we have outstanding educators, leaders and staff, and our students and families are amazing. Through meetings with staff and Duluth citizens, I listened and learned about ISD709. It’s clearly evident, through these conversations, that the education and well-being of our youth is a top priority. We all recognize that the seeds of educational greatness that we plant today will produce a bright future for our community.

We’re experiencing incredible challenges and opportunities for growth for education as we work together to remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and strive to produce meaningful engagement for each learner. We are experiencing more deeply challenges to the issues of systemic racism that are the root of inequities for so many. We are at a crossroads, where there is no room for error in planning and where turning a blind eye to injustice risks additional decades of progress in reducing opportunity gaps and achieving excellence for all. For me, education was an opportunity to be lifted from poverty and I feel a strong responsibility to ensure that it does the same for all whom I serve. I am deeply dedicated to this collective work.

Good intentions are no more than wishful thinking without careful planning and strategic action. I have outlined my initial work in the district with a structured 100 Day Entry Plan that will begin, pending board approval, on July 23, 2020 and end on November 1, 2020. The activities are focused on both the immediate and long term needs of the district.

Knowing that there are uncertainties in the coming months that could cause us to modify these plans, I want to assure you that trusting relationships built upon authentic, inclusive listening are the cornerstone of my leadership. This will be central to my work in the Duluth Public Schools, not only during the next 100 days, but throughout the many years that I hope to serve you.

I’m grateful to the many people that have shared their thoughts and advice with me, and look forward to the many opportunities we will have to work together.

With sincerity and gratitude,

John Magas, Superintendent

Duluth Public Schools

Return to Learn: September 2020

A video message from Superintendent Magas regarding planning for the upcoming school year, thanks to all who are supporting this important work.

Fall Planning Video Message

#Inspire709 #ReturnToLearn

ISD 709 Staff Survey - Fall Planning

We’re seeking your input as we plan for the start of school in September. Planning follows state and federal health guidelines with student and staff safety as a priority. It's also important that plans address the academic, social and emotional needs of all students.

Please submit your survey by July 24, 2020. Your perspective is very important to us in our planning. Thank you for taking the time to share.

The state is asking schools to plan for three different options in the fall. Plans are based on guidance to schools from the MN Department of Health and MN Department of Education. They will provide more specific direction to school districts the week of July 27.

· In person learning: Schools create as much space between people as practical. Space may at times be less than recommended for social distancing.

· Hybrid learning: Combination of in-person and distance learning. Space between people is more strictly enforced with greater space available. Schools and buses have limited capacity.

· Distance Learning: Students access materials and daily interaction with teacher(s) from home with improvements based on input from students, families and staff, i.e. access to online learning opportunities

Please note that the situation is fluid and that changes may be necessary as the state and local response to COVID-19 continues.

Many thanks to the principals, department heads and staff who worked collaboratively to help draft the survey.

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